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I’ve said elsewhere this is a misguided attempt to fearful the “Y” vs “Reverse S” options - the Reverse S was rightly dismissed around 9 years ago and it should not be opened up again.

Piccadilly should have underground platforms for NPR, but it should not be at the expense of the Eastern leg of HS2 Phase 2B (which I think has the highest BCR of any component part of the scheme as a whole) should be delivered in full as well as an underground NPR station at Piccadilly to deliver the step change the north of England needs.
 

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Think that this is the first report with any weight that I have seen that suggests binning the eastern arm.

Cannot see that being acceptable for a whole host of reasons, not least, the levelling up agenda that BoZo is on.
 

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Nice pictures, exciting proposal - but surely unworkable given trains are going to be going out of their way before crossing the Pennines? The previous proposals had the airport - Piccadilly tunnel being diverted and a station running 'crossways' under Piccadilly and already facing the Pennines. That was much better in my opinion.

Why does Sheffield lose out whatever plans are suggested?? Very frustrating. It’s a ‘massive’ city and bang in the middle of everything but not on the radar. Very frustrating.
Manchester is like a mythical impossible place to get to from this side of the Pennines, but hopefully the Mancs get their underground station!!
Obviously Sheffield was built on an ancient burial ground and the vengeful ghosts of the disturbed bodies are getting their revenge on the living by cursing Sheffield to forever be left out of key national transport infrastructure projects.
 

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Think that this is the first report with any weight that I have seen that suggests binning the eastern arm.

Cannot see that being acceptable for a whole host of reasons, not least, the levelling up agenda that BoZo is on.
I’m not sure I’d agree that’s a report - as far as I can tell it’s a proposal from some architects to build a station to their design with one of the purported cost saving benefits being ditching the eastern leg (which for a number of reasons I’m not sure is a benefit at all).
 

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Remember you probably only get one chance to read that outside the paywall.

View attachment 252878


Also at:

To me this looks like just another attempt by some unhinged pressure group to cancel the eastern branch of HS2 and to royally shaft the East Midlands, Sheffield, York, and Newcastle, while making Leeds a very poor relation of Manchester. And I note the line under Manchester is shown to head north west when it needs to be heading east.

Hi-tech crayoning with a sinister motive....... They couldn't give a stuff about relieving the MML and ECML. T*ssers!
 

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I am intrigued as to who commissioned and paid for that report.
Having now had the chance to read the article, the below probably answers that question:

“Weston Williamson and Expedition’s High SpeedStation Square proposal has been submitted in to response to a call in March from the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission for evidence on the existing proposals.”

My reading of this is that it was prepared and submitted off their own back. I don’t think any of the elements of the design are completely new / novel - there have been similar designs in the past but this is a slight variation on that and they are clearly trying to sell their design by binning the eastern leg which might be in the architects interests - but not the interests of UKplc.
 

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Having now had the chance to read the article, the below probably answers that question:

“Weston Williamson and Expedition’s High SpeedStation Square proposal has been submitted in to response to a call in March from the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission for evidence on the existing proposals.”

My reading of this is that it was prepared and submitted off their own back. I don’t think any of the elements of the design are completely new / novel - there have been similar designs in the past but this is a slight variation on that and they are clearly trying to sell their design by binning the eastern leg which might be in the architects interests - but not the interests of UKplc.
Surprisingly they are indeed an architectural design company based in London who are responsible for a number of interesting major station redesign / enhancement projects, including Paddington (Crossrail). They are no doubt keenly interested in getting a nice juicy commission for their work. In doing so they have come to a similar conclusion as previous weird anti-HS2 think tanks who want to see the eastern branch scuppered for ideological reasons. As you say, their interest clearly does not align with that of millions of UK taxpayers in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East who would find themselves paying for HS2 phase 1/2a and the Western branch after being denied the HS2 improvements they were promised. They don't seem to have understood that their proposals would adversely affect Leeds as well.


The biggest loser by far would of course be Sheffield, currently served by two small trains an hour to London via Bedford, offering about 650 seats and taking on average about 130 minutes (but strangely much slower at peak times). HS2 would have offered the same frequency, but a huge uplift to 1,064 seats every hour and average journey times slashed to about 86 minutes throughout the entire day. Plus of course without HS2 the option of frequent NPR expresses to Leeds in 30 minutes will remain a fantasy.
 

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In doing so they have come to a similar conclusion as previous weird anti-HS2 think tanks who want to see the eastern branch scuppered for ideological reasons.
There's clearly a lot of money to be made designing stations for HS2, but that is true whether the eastern branch goes ahead or not. Indeed a bit of googling suggests that WW are part of Aecom's joint venture for the design of the eastern branch, so they appear to have a vested interest in it not being cancelled. The only thing I can think of is that someone threw some money at the to do this work.

We know it isn't just "weird anti-HS2 think tanks" who've wanted to drop the eastern branch, because 'government sources' leaked that it was an option to the newspapers during the Oakervee review. The question is who in benefits from a scheme that doesn't serve the East Midlands or Sheffield, and that doesn't relieve the MML/ECML? I have two thoughts. One is that the Treasury are more concerned with reducing the overall budget than they are with the BCR and that sources close to them are promoting this. The other is that someone feels that development uplift is more important than maximising journey time benefits. Given the development potential around Toton and in Sheffield is likely to be relatively low perhaps that is motivating whoever supports this. I feel like there's a piece of the puzzle that isn't visible to us, but that something weird is going on.
 

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There's clearly a lot of money to be made designing stations for HS2, but that is true whether the eastern branch goes ahead or not. Indeed a bit of googling suggests that WW are part of Aecom's joint venture for the design of the eastern branch, so they appear to have a vested interest in it not being cancelled. The only thing I can think of is that someone threw some money at the to do this work.

We know it isn't just "weird anti-HS2 think tanks" who've wanted to drop the eastern branch, because 'government sources' leaked that it was an option to the newspapers during the Oakervee review. The question is who in benefits from a scheme that doesn't serve the East Midlands or Sheffield, and that doesn't relieve the MML/ECML? I have two thoughts. One is that the Treasury are more concerned with reducing the overall budget than they are with the BCR and that sources close to them are promoting this. The other is that someone feels that development uplift is more important than maximising journey time benefits. Given the development potential around Toton and in Sheffield is likely to be relatively low perhaps that is motivating whoever supports this. I feel like there's a piece of the puzzle that isn't visible to us, but that something weird is going on.
If the Eastern branch was cancelled, that would surely have an impact on Euston, OOC & Curzon Street. Why would the station footprints need to be as large?

Perhaps we could see phase 2c and 2d come to light, with part of the eastern branch built to relieve the southern MML and making it worthwhile sending Leeds services via Sheffield, but keeping Newcastle on the ECML.
 

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If the Eastern branch was cancelled, that would surely have an impact on Euston, OOC & Curzon Street. Why would the station footprints need to be as large?

Perhaps we could see phase 2c and 2d come to light, with part of the eastern branch built to relieve the southern MML and making it worthwhile sending Leeds services via Sheffield, but keeping Newcastle on the ECML.
I'd see it more as a 'delay' of the eastern branch rather than a cancellation so you'd still want the full sized stations for the eventual scheme. I don't think it's actually going to happen, but it does appear that some party in officialdom are promoting it.

I wonder if Birmingham - Toton - South of Doncaster is viable for the ECML link? Allows ECML fast trains to move over to HS2 but saves money and controversy South Yorkshire.
 

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A thought

This company builds stations, the bigger more expensive the better for them

Their greatest opportunity for big bucks business on HS2 is Piccadilly

This report simply aims that bar incredibly high from their business perspective, they're aiming for the stars with the most expensive station option that they can identify hoping to hit the moon on the way down

That company will be all over Piccadilly whenever it's out to tender
 

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another thought

I'ts not impossible to imagine an announcement in 6mths along the lines of a totally northern focused HS2B similar to that diagram, totally integrating HS2 with connectivity to the north on NPR.

The bone being through to Sheffield being promised motorway from Manc to the M1 at Sheffield (again northern focused) and the railway to Manc upgraded / new lines in places to vastly improve rail connections, again, across the north (outside of NPR).
 

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In fact this has a little of the Cummings about it.

He opposes HS2for cost reasons.

BoZo has repeated that costs are now under control, looking at reducing costs.

There is not huge enthusiasm about HS2 in the blue wall seats, more so in the larger northern cities.

This would take away the complaints from places like Doncaster and other places on the route that 'get nothing' *.

I do not think for one second that this will happen as per this report.

I do think that someone in on a game and we could very much see more along these lines in weeks ahead, preparing for quite material changes to the scheme.

* they will benefit just not as obviously as other places.
 

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Could this be an official government leak, to test publc opinion, disguised as an "alternative suggestion"?
On the face of it, it isn’t,and I don’t think it is likely that yet another review is in the cards having just finished last one a few months ago.

The Times have reported this plan as being submitted to a “government backed review” - the NIC is a government backed body but The scope of their review will not include the eastern leg of HS2. In my view this reporting is misleading - with the caveat that we don’t know if anything has been briefed - but in today’s world the standard of journalism (in general) is clearly now what it should be so I anticipate this is most likely someone with a tight deadline to meet for copy making a minor mistake.
 

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I asked that yesterday, the answer is up page
Thanks.
Although, unless I'm being blind, the answer is that someone thinks they have carried out this work off their own back in order to potentially win future work?

Two separate consultancies, architecture practice Weston Williamson and engineering consultancy Expedition, just doing work for no fee.
 

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My totally random guess is this is Cummings tactics to start the discussion about Eastern line dropped, mega investment in North instead via NPR. New trams in Leeds to soften the blow of losing Eastern link, new motorway to join M67 in Manc to M1 near Sheffield.

May be totally wrong, almost always am, but fact The Times is carrying so predominantly gives me impression that this has Whitehall backing and they've been briefed to carry it.

In my opinion Burnham and Rotherham in the West would support this plan, the mayors of West Yorks and South Yorks could be bought off.

Having the additional stop at Rochdale, which is so much the target area for Cummings, just tweaks my mind that little bit further into thinking there actually could be something in this.
 
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